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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Spear Phishing

This Asia-Pacific Cyber Espionage Campaign Went Undetected for 5 Years

This Asia-Pacific Cyber Espionage Campaign Went Undetected for 5 Years
May 07, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
An advanced group of Chinese hackers has recently been spotted to be behind a sustained cyber espionage campaign targeting government entities in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Brunei—which went undetected for at least five years and is still an ongoing threat. The group, named 'Naikon APT,' once known as one of the most active APTs in Asia until 2015, carried out a string of cyberattacks in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in search of geopolitical intelligence. According to the latest investigation report Check Point researchers shared with The Hacker News, the Naikon APT group had not gone silent for the last 5 years, as initially suspected; instead, it was using a new backdoor, called " Aria-body ," to operate stealthily. "Given the characteristics of the victims and capabilities presented by the group, it is evident that the group's purpose is to gather intelligence and spy on the countries whose governments it

Targeted Phishing Attacks Successfully Hacked Top Executives At 150+ Companies

Targeted Phishing Attacks Successfully Hacked Top Executives At 150+ Companies
April 30, 2020Mohit Kumar
In the last few months, multiple groups of attackers successfully compromised corporate email accounts of at least 156 high-ranking officers at various firms based in Germany, the UK, Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Dubbed ' PerSwaysion ,' the newly spotted cyberattack campaign leveraged Microsoft file-sharing services—including Sway, SharePoint, and OneNote—to launch highly targeted phishing attacks. According to a report Group-IB Threat Intelligence team published today and shared with The Hacker News, PerSwaysion operations attacked executives of more than 150 companies around the world, primarily with businesses in finance, law, and real estate sectors. "Among these high-ranking officer victims, more than 20 Office365 accounts of executives, presidents, and managing directors appeared." So far successful and still ongoing, most PerSwaysion operations were orchestrated by scammers from Nigeria and South Africa who used a Vue.js JavaScript framewor

Why Minimizing Human Error is the Only Viable Defense Against Spear Phishing

Why Minimizing Human Error is the Only Viable Defense Against Spear Phishing
February 25, 2020The Hacker News
Phishing attacks have become one of the business world's top cybersecurity concerns. These social engineering attacks have been rising over the years, with the most recent report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group coalition identifying over 266,000 active spoofed websites, which is nearly double the number detected during Q4 2018. Hackers have evolved their methods, from regular phishing attacks to spear phishing, where they use email messages disguised as coming from legitimate sources to dupe specific individuals. This is why the global spear phishing protection software market is estimated to reach $1.8 billion by 2025. However, conventional defenses can still fall short due to one particular weakness in the security perimeter – the human factor. Indeed, some 33 percent of 2019's data breaches involved humans falling victim to social engineering attacks. And given how sophisticated and creative the phishing perpetrators have been getting, it's easy to see h

US Govt Warns Critical Industries After Ransomware Hits Gas Pipeline Facility

US Govt Warns Critical Industries After Ransomware Hits Gas Pipeline Facility
February 19, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) earlier today issued a warning to all industries operating critical infrastructures about a new ransomware threat that if left unaddressed could have severe consequences. The advisory comes in response to a cyberattack targeting an unnamed natural gas compression facility that employed spear-phishing to deliver ransomware to the company's internal network, encrypting critical data and knocking servers out of operation for almost two days. "A cyber threat actor used a spear-phishing link to obtain initial access to the organization's information technology network before pivoting to its operational technology network. The threat actor then deployed commodity ransomware to encrypt data for impact on both networks," CISA noted in its alert. As ransomware attacks continue to escalate in frequency and scale , the new development is yet another indication that p

New Group of Hackers Targeting Businesses with Financially Motivated Cyber Attacks

New Group of Hackers Targeting Businesses with Financially Motivated Cyber Attacks
November 14, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have tracked down activities of a new group of financially-motivated hackers that are targeting several businesses and organizations in Germany, Italy, and the United States in an attempt to infect them with backdoor, banking Trojan, or ransomware malware. Though the new malware campaigns are not customized for each organization, the threat actors appear to be more interested in businesses, IT services, manufacturing, and healthcare industries who possess critical data and can likely afford high ransom payouts. According to a report ProofPoint shared with The Hacker News, the newly discovered threat actors are sending out low-volume emails impersonating finance-related government entities with tax assessment and refund lured emails to targeted organizations. "Tax-themed Email Campaigns Target 2019 Filers, finance-related lures have been used seasonally with upticks in tax-related malware and phishing campaigns leading up to the annual tax filing deadlines in

GandCrab ransomware and Ursnif virus spreading via MS Word macros

GandCrab ransomware and Ursnif virus spreading via MS Word macros
January 25, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have discovered two separate malware campaigns, one of which is distributing the Ursnif data-stealing trojan and the GandCrab ransomware in the wild, whereas the second one is only infecting victims with Ursnif malware. Though both malware campaigns appear to be a work of two separate cybercriminal groups, we find many similarities in them. Both attacks start from phishing emails containing an attached Microsoft Word document embedded with malicious macros and then uses Powershell to deliver fileless malware. Ursnif is a data-stealing malware that typically steals sensitive information from compromised computers with an ability to harvest banking credentials, browsing activities, collect keystrokes, system and process information, and deploy additional backdoors. Discovered earlier last year, GandCrab is a widespread ransomware threat that, like every other ransomware in the market, encrypts files on an infected system and insists victims to pay a ransom

U.S. Trade Group Hacked by Chinese Hackers ahead of Trump-Xi Trade Summit

U.S. Trade Group Hacked by Chinese Hackers ahead of Trump-Xi Trade Summit
April 06, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Researchers have uncovered a Chinese cyber-espionage against the United States ahead of the trade summit on Thursday between US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping. According to a new report published today by Fidelis Cybersecurity firm, the Chinese APT10 hacking group implanted a piece of malware on the "Events" page of the US National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) website in February. Dubbed ' Operation TradeSecret ,' the attack against the NFTC site is seen as an attempt to conduct surveillance on the main industry players and lobbyists closely associated with U.S trade policy activities. Researchers say hackers placed a malicious link on the NFTC website, inviting the organization's board of directors to register for a meeting in Washington DC on March 7. But clicking on the link deployed a spying tool called " Scanbox ." Dates back to 2014, Scanbox – previously used by nation-state threat actors associated with the

Yahoo! Hack! How It Took Just One-Click to Execute Biggest Data Breach in History

Yahoo! Hack! How It Took Just One-Click to Execute Biggest Data Breach in History
March 16, 2017Swati Khandelwal
In the digital world, it just takes one click to get the keys to the kingdom. Do you know spear-phishing was the only secret weapon behind the biggest data breach in the history? It's true, as one of the Yahoo employees fell victim to a simple phishing attack and clicked one wrong link that let the hackers gain a foothold in the company's internal networks. You may be familiar with phishing attacks — an attempt to steal user credentials or financial data — while, Spear-phishing is a targeted form of phishing in which attackers trick employees or vendors into providing remote-access credentials or opening a malicious attachment containing an exploit or payload. Here's how the Yahoo's massive data breach was traced back to human error and who were the alleged masterminds behind this hack. On Wednesday, the US government charged two Russian spies (Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin) and two criminal hackers (Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov) in connection with the 20

FBI Most Wanted — Three 'Syrian Electronic Army' Hackers Charged for Cyber Crime

FBI Most Wanted — Three 'Syrian Electronic Army' Hackers Charged for Cyber Crime
March 23, 2016Mohit Kumar
Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) Hackers have made their place on the FBI's Most Wanted List. The US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are willing to pay $100,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the heads of the infamous hacking group Syrian Electronic Army. On Tuesday, the DoJ unsealed charges against three suspected members of the alleged group: Ahmad Umar Agha (aka The Pro), 22 Firas Dardar (aka The Shadow), 27 Peter Romar , 36 Agha and Dardar were allegedly involved in hacking Associated Press Twitter account in April 2013 and spreading a false rumor claiming that the White House had been bombed, injuring President Obama. This caused a temporary stock market dip. The two hackers allegedly engaged in a long-running cyber-propaganda campaign in support of the Syrian President Bashar al‑Assad. They hacked into various Twitter accounts of the main news organizations from 2011 to 2013. Their victims

FBI Director says 'Sloppy' Sony Hackers Left Clues that Point to North Korea

FBI Director says 'Sloppy' Sony Hackers Left Clues that Point to North Korea
January 08, 2015Swati Khandelwal
The hackers group responsible for the last year's largest hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment left many clues which proves that the Sony's hackers , who called themselves Guardians of Peace (GOP) , linked to North Korea, as claimed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Speaking at the International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) at Fordham University in New York on Wednesday, the director of the FBI defended his bureau's claim and said that the North Korean government was involved in the massive cyber attack against Sony Pictures – saying skeptics " don't have the facts that I have ." " There's not much I have high confidence about, " James Comey said, as reported by the FBI New York field office's official Twitter feed. " I have very high confidence... on North Korea. " According to Comey, the hackers usually relied on proxy connections to hide their real IP address each time they sent threatening

New BlackEnergy Crimeware Enhanced to Target Linux Systems and Cisco Routers

New BlackEnergy Crimeware Enhanced to Target Linux Systems and Cisco Routers
November 05, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have unearthed new capabilities in the BlackEnergy Crimeware weapon that has now ability to hacking  routers , Linux systems and Windows, targeting industry through Cisco network devices. The antivirus vendor's Global Research & Analysis Team released a report Monday detailing some of the new " relatively unknown " custom plug-in capabilities that the cyber espionage group has developed for BlackEnergy to attack Cisco networking devices and target ARM and MIPS platforms. The malware was upgraded with custom plugins including Ciscoapi.tcl which targets The Borg's kit, and According to researchers, the upgraded version contained various wrappers over Cisco EXEC-commands and " a punchy message for Kaspersky , " which reads, " F*uck U, Kaspersky!!! U never get a fresh B1ack En3rgy. So, thanks C1sco 1td for built-in backd00rs & 0-days. " BlackEnergy malware program was originally created and used by cy

Microsoft Windows Zero-Day Vulnerability "CVE-2014-4114" Used to Hack NATO

Microsoft Windows Zero-Day Vulnerability "CVE-2014-4114" Used to Hack NATO
October 14, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Once again a Russian cyber espionage group has gained media attention by exploiting a Zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system to spy on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO ), Ukrainian and Polish government agencies, and a variety of sensitive European industries over the last year. ZERO-DAY VULNERABILITY IN MICROSOFT WINDOWS Researchers at cyber intelligence firm iSight Partners have discovered a zero-day vulnerability that impacts desktop and server versions of Windows, from Vista and Server 2008 to current versions. They also uncovered a latest cyber-spying campaign - suspected to be based in Russia - that uses this Zero-day vulnerability ( CVE-2014-4114 ) to target government leaders and institutions for nearly five years. The recently detected Russian hacking group is dubbed as " Sandworm Team " by iSIGHT Partners because it found references to the Frank Herbert's " Dune " science fiction series in the malici

WinRAR File Extension Spoofing vulnerability allows Hackers to Hide Malware

WinRAR File Extension Spoofing vulnerability allows Hackers to Hide Malware
April 02, 2014Mohit Kumar
Imagine, You Open a Winrar archive of MP3 files, but what if it will install a malware into your system when you play anyone of them. WinRAR, a widely used file archiver and data compression utility helps hackers to distribute malicious code. Israeli security researcher  Danor Cohen (An7i)   discovered the WinRAR file extension spoofing vulnerability. WinRAR file extension spoofing vulnerability allows hackers to modify the filename and extension inside the traditional file archive, that helps them to hide binary malicious code inside an archive, pretending itself as '.jpg' , '.txt' or any other format. Using a Hex editor tool, he analysed a ZIP file and noticed that winrar tool also adds some custom properties to an archive, including two names - First name is the original filename (FAX.png) and second name is the filename (FAX.png) that will appear at the WINRAR GUI window. Danor manipulated the second filename and extension to prepare a special Z

Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks

Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks
March 26, 2014Wang Wei
The Mysterious Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 , a Boeing 777-200 aircraft that has gone missing by the time it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Malaysian Prime Minister had also confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. Cyber Criminals are known to take advantage of major news stories or events where there is a high level of public interest and now Scammers are also targeting tragedy of MH370 to trap innocent Internet users. Just a few days before we warned you about a Facebook malware campaign claimed that the missing Malaysian Airlines ' MH370 has been spotted in the Bermuda Triangle ' with its passengers still alive and invites users to click a link to view breaking news video footage. This week, Security researchers at FireEye have revealed about various ongoing spear phishing and malware attacks by some advanced persistent threat (APT) attackers. According to the researchers, the Chines

Windows Spy tool equipped with Android malware to hack Smartphones

Windows Spy tool equipped with Android malware to hack Smartphones
March 19, 2014Mohit Kumar
I am quite sure that you must be syncing your Smartphone with your Computers for transferring files and taking backup of your device. If you are using windows operating system and Android devices, then it's a bad news for you, because FireEye Security Researchers have identified a new piece of windows malware that can also infects your Android Devices. During an investigation of a targeted attack on a US based financial institution, researchers spotted a new version of Windows Remote Access Trojan (RAT) called ' Win-Spy Software Pro v16 ', a spying and monitoring tool.  WinSpy was embedded in macro documents to kick off a spam campaign via a spear phishing email. " The recent surge in Android-based RATs such as Dendroid and AndroRAT shows a spike in the interest of malicious actors to control mobile devices.  GimmeRAT  is another startling example of malicious actors venturing into the Android ecosystem ," security firm said. The Researchers dubbed the

The Mask, a malware campaign that remained undetected for 7 Years

The Mask, a malware campaign that remained undetected for 7 Years
February 11, 2014Anonymous
A Sophisticated cyber spying operation, ' The Mask ', that has been under the mask for about 7 years targeting approximately 31 countries, has now been 'unmasked' by researchers at Kaspersky Labs . The Researchers believe that the program has been operational since 2007 and is seems to be sophisticated nation-state spying tool that targeted government agencies and diplomatic offices and embassies before it was disclosed last month. In the unveiling document published by Kaspersky , they found more than 380 unique victims, including Government institutions, diplomatic offices/embassies, private companies, research institutions, activists etc. The name " Mask " comes from the Spanish slang word "Careto" (" Ugly Face " or " Mask ") which the authors included in some of the malware modules. Developers of the ' Mask ' aka ' Careto ' used complex tool-set which includes highly developed malware , bootkit, rootkit etc. that has the ability t
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